SHIPPENSBURG >> As they left the podium, Brady Wilt's 3,200 meter run opponents asked him if he was senior yet, with a slightly hopeful tone.
Unfortunately for the District 3 Class AA field, they will have to wait at least one more year to get rid of the Biglerville kid who followed a gold medal in the 1,600 his sophomore year with another championship, this time in the 3,200 in his junior campaign.
"I get that a lot," Wilt said with a laugh. "They say it seems like I've been here forever. It's just a load of excitement to know I can come back next year and do this all over again."
The win, clocked at 9:43.95, was the only YAIAA victory in either classification Friday. It also broke Biglerville's school record of 9:49.4, held by David Nelles since 1977.
Last season, Wilt won the mile with a time of 4:28.86. However, he was disappointed with his 3,200 race in which he placed third with a time of 9:57.43. He missed advancing to the PIAA championships by one spot in his sophomore year after reaching the event as a freshman.
"It was a little bit of a revenge to get back at the race," Wilt said. "It hurt for a long time, deep down inside. I focused this year on being an all-around runner and not focusing on one event. My coaches helped me get to that stage."
Wilt stayed even with top-seeded Kyle Shinn of Wyomissing throughout the race and pulled ahead in the final 250 meters. He finished more than three seconds ahead and looked like he had plenty of energy to spare.
Wilt said that was by design.
"I try to stay right on the top guy's back throughout the race and use my kick at the end," he said. "I'm not a big fan of leading races. It played out almost perfectly."
Competitors asked Wilt afterward why he'd entered the race seeded seventh with a time of 10:20. Wilt said that Biglerville coach Alex Ramos had kept him out of the race most invitationals, opting to use him in the 1,600 relay.
"That last lap of the 3,200 today, I couldn't have done it without those speed workouts (from the relay)," Wilt said. "To see it all pay off today, I'm more than happy."
Wilt said he thinks he can still lower his time in the 3,200 in next week's race, but don't ask him which distance race he will focus on next week, at least not yet.
"Let's qualify for the 1,600 tomorrow, and then we'll talk about that," he said.
Stories from the meet
Family affair >> Tyler Hewitt knew his family legacy was at stake.
Two years ago, his brother Troy made the PIAA championships with a second-place discus toss at the District 3 Class AA championships. With only one throw left on Friday, Tyler needed five more inches to continue the family tradition.
"It was do or die, I knew I had to do it," the Fairfield senior said. "I tried to just block everything out of my mind and throw. With my brother doing it, I had to make it or I'd have been hearing it. This makes life a lot easier now."
Tyler's throw still hasn't passed Troy's mark, a 152-4, and it's been a while since his top throw of the season, a 138-5 he achieved at the Arctic Blast Invitational at Northern York High School on April 12. He said he's thrown longer than 140 feet in practice, but hasn't been able to pop one in a meet. Still, his throw was good for second place.
"I'm just waiting for that big one," he said. "I just get in my head and think about it way too much. I'm pretty good at that. I need to get out of that mindset."
Gym class guffaws >> Kate Mowrey entered the doctor's office Thursday hoping for a medical clearance for her injured right foot. She left with a bright purple cast.
The Delone Catholic sophomore couldn't believe her luck. Tuesday, she was playing soccer in gym class when her foot collided with a classmate's foot as they sparred for a loose ball.
She felt a severe pain shoot down her leg but hoped that it would go away. That night, she was diagnosed with a deep bone bruise, but she hoped she might be able to return.
Wednesday she missed school to elevate her foot, and by Thursday, she felt like she was ready to run again.
Thursday after school, she had what she called her moment of truth. Attempting a run down the street, she felt the pain return. Even then, she hadn't given up on the district meet.
"I thought I'd use my crutches up to the starting line, then throw them off and run," she said with a laugh. "But it didn't happen."
That night, she got an X-ray that revealed a potential Lisfranc injury. She explained that it occurs when the ligaments supporting the mid-foot are torn.
In two weeks, Mowrey will have an MRI to confirm the injury, but either way, it brought an end to her track season.
"I'm actually very sad," she said. "I really wish I could run with my 4x800 team. We were all pumped up and had matching shoes and everything."
Still, Mowrey came with the team to Shippensburg because the district experience goes beyond the competitions, she said. She looks forward to team meals and sleeping over in a hotel with her teammates.
"They're my best friends, they're like family," she said. "Even though I can't run, I wanted to come and support them. I'm still going to have a great time. It gets my mind off of the injury."
Javelin genius >>Since the start of her javelin-throwing career, Biglerville's Katie Camara dreamed of breaking her school's record.
Three months later, she did it.
At the District 3 Class AA meet, Camara's throw of 116 feet earned her a fourth-place medal and gave her a school record held since 1985 by Dawn Van Dyke with a mark of 112-7.
"I was nervous because I knew I only had three throws left, but on my first throw, as soon as I let go, I knew it was there," she said. "It was very exciting."
Last fall, Biglerville track and field coach Alex Ramos saw Camara launching the ball as quarterback in a fundraiser football game. He couldn't wait to tell throws coach Dave Cox what he envisioned.
At the start of the spring, Cox tried out the sprinter to see what she could do.
"The first time she picked it up she threw a line drive — the javelin never got higher than about eight feet off the ground," Cox said, pausing for dramatic effect. "It landed at about 100 feet. I was thinking, 'Wow. With a little technique, this girl is going to be good.'"
Camara is known at Biglerville as a field hockey player first, a basketball player second and, until recently, a sprinter third. She said she's not quite ready to be immortalized, at least for a little while, as the school's javelin queen.
"I'm still pretty shocked," she said. "I don't know how to take it."
Faceplant tranquility >> Mary Gingrow started her day in the javelin line with a bang, and decided things could only get better from there.
Before Friday, the Delone Catholic senior had never attempted to throw on an all-weather runway while wearing spikes. She probably could have used more of an adjustment period.
"My spike got caught on my first throw and I just faceplanted," Gingrow said with a laugh. "It got all my nerves out, honestly. I figured, nothing worse can happen to me, so I went out and just threw."
Gingrow entered the meet hoping to eclipse the 121-foot mark and advance to states. She never quite got there, but still took third with a 116-3 throw for third.
While she won't go to states, Gingrow gets a pretty nice consolation prize.
"Now I can go on my senior cruise," she said, explaining that seniors at Delone cruise the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. "I was going either way, but with states I would have been really tired."